It is widely said (and properly so) that Gibson never made a finer sounding mandolin, including in the A-series, than those made while Lloyd Loar was at the helm of the mandolin division. Mr. Loar may not have been solely responsible for all the changes at Gibson that occurred for the betterment of mankind in the early to mid ‘20s but his presence was, unmistakably, a catalyst for innovation. These included: the adjustable truss rod that allowed a slimmer, faster, more comfortable neck; the adjustable bridge so that the user could raise and lower the action; the elevated fingerboard (on some models, not this one), the inverted peghead that becomes slimmer as it advances upward in much the manner of, say, a snake that gets a job singing in a ‘50s doo-wop quintet.
Another major achievement was the introduction of violin principles in the design of the instrument – such as lower-case “f” shaped soundholes and the longer neck that allowed the player 13 frets to the body instead of 10 – but again, these epiphanies did not find their way onto the A-style mandolin until much later. Taken together – the period of snake-dom in the headstock of the Gibson A- was the harbinger of a new era in clear, clean, consummate sound, bold new aesthetic design, and commendable creature comfort. Although it was introduced at a time when the mandolin was inexorably losing market share to the emerging tenor banjo the Gibson snakehead A- set the stage for the age of the flapper, a fascination with fashion and, frankly, the ubiquitous flask.
This mandolin is quite clean, however, like so many other Gibson A-styles it is missing its original pickguard and side clamp. It retains, however, it retains its original slide-on "The Gibson" tailpiece cover with the floral etching at the top, its adjustable two-piece ebony bridge with the "Pat. Jan. 19, '21" patent stamp on its base. It also has its original ebony fingerboard with 6 inlaid mother of pearl dotmarkers, and its original four-on-a-plate open-gear tuning machines with the grained ivoroid buttons. The headstock on a Style A- is black, meaning sans Gibson logo, and this one might show normal signs of playing wear including dings, chips and nicks string changing marks and other minor disruptions, in keeping with the overall level of use and wear evidenced on its surfaces. By George, there is a chip of wood out of the treble side of the mahogany neck adjacent to the fifth fret(and under the fingerboard) and some small areas of finish dulling on the back of the neck at around the first and second frets on each side from having been played mostly in the lower position. This mandolin has a very old repaired heel crack, which was doweled through the back edge of the heel. It is stable and solid and chances are will not change in a hundred years’ time.
This model Gibson mandolin has crème celluloid top binding, the same type of binding around its oval soundhole, and a ring of crème-black-crème comprises the soundhole rosette. It has neither back nor fingerboard binding. It has the adjustable truss rod feature which enabled Gibson to make a mandolin with a more comfortable, slimmer neck (still V-shape) than what came before. While the nut width is just 1 1/16th" it plays comfortably and feels right under the fingers.
Our dedicated workshop of experienced repairpersons has done a yeoman's job of leveling (dressing) the frets and setting it up to perfection. We present to you a thoroughly playable and extremely beautiful mandolin, one that yearns and burns to take its place in your earthly garden of fretted finery that facilitates fun.
THIS WAS $3395, BUT IS NOW ON SALE.